Platform as a service moves into the data center

Early discussion of cloud computing focused on the public option. In fact, the economic concept of computing delivered as a sort of utility by mega service providers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft was at the core of the original cloud-computing concept.

As it turns out though, these public clouds are hardly the only form that cloud computing has taken. Computing is more complicated than a true utility like electricity. For this and other reasons, private and hybrid clouds -- which use computers and other IT resources controlled by a single organization -- have evolved to become an important part … Read more

A field guide to the cloud

A gargantuan new GigaOm Pro report titled "A field guide to the cloud: current trends and future opportunities" (subscription only) was released today as part of the Structure 2011 conference in San Francisco.

The report examines the cloud-computing landscape with a focus on five specific areas: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), cloud storage, and private/internal clouds. And despite the relative newness of the cloud market, there is quite a bit going on.

According to the report, IaaS is driving the cloud-computing discussion but has yet to reach … Read more

Network, don't fail me now!

Everything in IT depends on the network.--and not just in an abstract, "need it occasionally" sort of way. The packets must flow for virtually every operation, every job, every transaction. Whenever packets drop, or links go down, we're disconnected and isolated. Information doesn't flow; apps don't work; users don't proceed. We need the network up and running, millisecond by millisecond, every millisecond of every day.

Our utter, urgent dependency won't lessen in the coming years. It will intensify--redoubling and redoubling again. Cisco calls its vision of the future "together." HP … Read more

The power of pull in the clouds

The tech industry is moving from push to pull, author John Hagel III says.

Hagel, chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge and co-author of "The Only Sustainable Edge" and "The Power of Pull," spoke with me Thursday at the Structure 2010 conference in San Francisco about how IT needs to change in the age of the cloud and the potential of moving from push to pull in business processes.

Hagel's latest book, "The Power of Pull," is co-authored by John Seely Brown and Lang Davison and is focused on how to address the most pressing challenges in a rapidly changing, increasingly interdependent world.

According to Hagel, "pull" starts with a broad business issue: for example, looking at long-term changes in a business environment to show how well a company is doing over a period of time. According to Hagel's research, some metrics, such as return on assets, have shown that there are statistical issues--both legitimate and anomalous--that raise all kind of questions and show that not enough companies look for long-term sustainability.

With far less predictability and stability in markets and in business, "pull" has become more relevant than "push." There is a disconnect between management practices and the way the world has changed.

Hagel outlines three stages of how we're moving from push to pull:

Access--being able to get the resources you need. This is an area already being addressed by Google and other search engines that provide answers to queries. Attraction--you don't know what to look for, but there is opportunity to increase unexpected encounters. In this case, the goal is to find inadvertent patterns or dynamics that can then be reacted to. Full potential--ultimately, this newly discovered knowledge leads to performance improvement.

Cloud-based systems and services are an entry point to exploit the full potential of the vast amount of data that is always in play, but they tend to be stuck on the edge of organizations and practices, while the core of the process still needs to be addressed.… Read more

'Cloud' means something important

"Cloud computing" is so overused and overhyped that it doesn't really mean anything anymore. It's has become kind of a vague "what comes next in IT" label, with no specific meaning, applied indiscriminately to whatever the latest vendor to stop by wants to sell us today.

I now hear this complaint with great regularity--but I don't entirely agree. Sure, every vendor is eagerly "cloud washing" whatever products or initiatives they have to fit in with the latest buzzhype. And the "cloud" term is thrown around with pretty reckless abandon. … Read more

Apps versus ops in the cloud

I'm often called on to explain cloud computing to people who aren't in the tech industry. It's hard. Sure there's some ambiguity in the term but that's not really my issue. It's also the case that some of the attributes associated with cloud computing like scalable, self-service, and so forth aren't necessarily that easy to put in layman's terms, at least without a lot of words and background. But that's not my core problem either.

Rather, I've come to think that my biggest stumbling block is this: When I talk … Read more

Makara turns the cloud into a virtual layer

Several months back, I spoke with Issac Roth, CEO of platform-as-a-service start-up WebappVM, about taking advantage of the cloud by moving to a virtual layer approach.

The idea behind this virtual layer is to enable developers to easily take Web applications to cloud environments--be they private, public, hybrid, or elsewhere in the ether.

On Tuesday, Roth and company are announcing the developer edition for their Cloud Application Platform with a newer, catchier name: Makara.

According to Roth, developers want to be able to get their apps up and running quickly but haven't had the ability to do so previously. … Read more

The battle of the cloud OSes begins in earnest

Once upon a time a cottage industry of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) vendors emerged to proclaim the next generation of application development. Bungee Labs (which I advise), Coghead, 3tera, and a range of others each stepped up to provide cloud-based platforms for developing cloud-based applications.

This week, however, each of these independent efforts was put on notice by industry heavyweights VMware, Citrix, and Virtual Iron: We're joining the fray.

James Urquhart calls out the significance of of their entries into the cloud platform market:

The long and the short of it is that we have entered into a new era, in … Read more

A Map of the Players in Cloud Computing, SaaS, and PaaS

BEA's Peter Laird just posted a great overview of Cloud Computing, SaaS, and Platform-as-a-Service PaaS for those who are still struggling to figure it out (and really who isn't?)

As always, the definitions are vague, yet arguable but I think they do a good job in establishing what we are talking about.

Cloud Computing Cloud computing refers to the virtualization of the data center, such that server machines are not thought of individually but as just a commodity in a greater collection of server machines. Cloud computing solutions in general strive to eliminate the need for an application … Read more

Bungee Labs extends its application hosting options

Bungee Labs is extending the hosting options for its Web application development environment, Bungee Connect. Today, developers using the Bungee Connect development environment can host their applications on Bungee's multitenant grid in the U.S. and Europe or on Amazon EC2. Beginning in July in public beta, organizations will be able to deploy Bungee Connect applications via the new Bungee Application Server on their own hosting infrastructure.

Bungee Labs, along with Coghead, Amazon EC2, Google App Engine, Joyent, Mosso,, NetSuite, Microsoft and others, is paving the way to platforms-as-a-service--hosted infrastructure for developing and delivering Web applications. … Read more